Tuesday, July 28, 2009

only to trip at the sound of goodbye

Sadness is hovering at Honeysuckle Faire because my dear, sweet Dad passed away. He was a bright, witty spark in our lives, never failing to make us bust out laughing at his antics. A friend gave me this photograph of him, above, which I will cherish forever because it is exactly like I remember him from my childhood. He is holding a "daisy glass" like the one I painted as a favorite symbol of that time period.
Here Dad is, circa 1943, with his younger brother.

And here, holding me, sometime in February, 1967.

Here we are, sledding in front of our barn in the winter of 1968.

Dad with his pockets out and empty when I spent all his money!
* * * *
My father was an animal lover of the first order. He was always more comfortable in social situations if there were pets around for him to walk or love up or feed. He would go on golfing trips with his friends and when we would get the film developed of his trip there would be a zillion pictures of horses in fields or a whole roll of different angles of a dog he met somewhere. Recently, he enjoyed reporting about the daily habits of Pie and Sovereign in the pastures. The very last conversation I had with him he told me to go and "play with your horsies". Unbelievably, his funeral procession drove right by our farm and Pie and Sovereign were in the pasture by the road. It was a glorious sunny morning and they were standing there just watching us go by.
Mom and I rode the boys yesterday morning and found our smiles again because of their sweet silliness.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

they give us the greens of summer

Kate, over at A Year With Horses, shared a virtual trail ride the other day. Click here for that wonderful post. I really enjoyed seeing where she rides her sweet Maisie! I had such an amazing ride on Sunday morning so I decided to try to recreate where I rode in this "virtual style". I hope your computers don't blow up with all my photographs. I had 45, but cut it down to 20! The cute ears and eye above belong to one silly Sovereign boy. He was not on the ride on Sunday. I rode Pie instead. I try to alternate horses each day to give them a mental and physical rest. I used Sovey to recreate some of the photos for my virtual ride and the rest my Maizie and I took flying around in the golf cart! So here we go...above Sovey's ears, past our pasture, you can see the church green and road that we have to walk by to get to our woods.
Above, we are just entering the woods.

This is the view to the right after you enter the first woods.

Back into the deeper, second wooded section.

And this is a "pop-out" point from trail to field. Pie did indeed "pop-out" on Sunday morning because he was hunting for apples on the barstool. This is one way to get there!

Above is an empty barstool after the apples have been gobbled!

This is the view if you look to your right while your horse is munching apples. You can just see the trees surrounding our barn.

I edited out about 1/2 mile so this is the view when you pop out onto the neighboring farm.

You can see how close the Pennsylvania Turnpike is located to this part of the ride. Ugh!

At the top of the hill there are little discarded bathroom tiles on the trail. Apparently, someone dumped their tiles out here. I laugh every time I see these. Colleen takes wonderful photographs of mushrooms hidden in the dirt over at her fabulous blog, Bay State Brumby, and I see these crazy tiles on our ride!

This is the cross back point onto our farm. Mind the groundhog hole - stay to the left!

My uncle's barn is on the left of the trail here. It is deserted.

This is a view heading back to the church and my parents' house. Normally, we would turn left at the end of the pasture fence and go back to the barn, but ol' Pie-Pie had other ideas on Sunday, and he turned right and walked over my parents' driveway like he was headed to town.

This is the view on the other side of my parents' house. This is the last small field before our property ends. We have 40 acres, but only about 2 miles in trails in the woods and the rest is a big hay field. Brian says our farm is kind of like Central Park. (Obviously, our farm isn't as big as Central Park and our town isn't as huge as New York.) But it is true - we are plopped down right in the middle of subdivisions and a town. Therefore, when we run out of trails, we end up on sleepy, subdivision roads that lead to a nearby cemetery.

Here is a quiet little printing press business that is located directly beside our property. Pie tiptoed across their grass and parking area to get to...

...this lovely large apple tree. The apples are still green, but he knows it won't be long.

Past the apple tree is this nice cinder trail. It is for walkers and bikers - no cars! Hopefully, chubby horses are welcome! At the end of this trail there are homes and another trail that leads to a local cemetery. That trail has a "gate keeper" named Cletus. Here he is, below, in all his sweetness!
Cletus is from the beaches of Puerto Rico and has very kind owners who allowed Pie to cross through their yard to the cemetery trail. They also served Pie a Sunday morning brunch of apples and carrots!! How lucky are we!?! Of course, Pie left them a present too (which I went back to clean up later!).

Here is the opening from Cletus' yard to the woods.

Into the woods we went...and Pie started snorting and shying. He saw the reflection of the sunlight on all the gravestones and he was having none of that. I started singing to him and stroking his neck and he calmly walked out into the open. Singing always works, but only if no one is around because I can't sing very well.
I was so very proud of Pie and his Sunday morning adventure. He wanted to keep going through the cemetery to town, but I thought we had done enough for one day. Thanks for joining us! I hope you aren't asleep by now. I laugh when I think of my scenery compared with all of my blogging friends. You all have trails proper, and pine trees, and bears, and Paint Girl and Pony Girl have "mutant monkeys"! I have some trails which I adore and am so grateful for, but mostly I see houses and streets! Oh well, Pie and Sovereign aren't complaining because on those streets live people who hand out apples and carrots to cute, chubby, horsey boys!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

happenstance is falling through the cracks each day

Today was a very good day at Honeysuckle Faire. I enjoyed my ride because, although my Dad has been in the ICU since Monday afternoon, he seems to be feeling better. Hooray!! Above is a postcard of the motel my grandfather built in the early sixties. You can just barely see my Dad in the red shirt putting on the Par 3 golf course. Thanks for the kind thoughts and comments!
I rode Sovereign bareback yesterday and he was very good. He isn't the most comfortable bareback horse to ride. Mom jokes that Pie is our "Bareback Boy" because he is like a big, soft waterbed. Sovey isn't and that is all I will say about that! (Ouch!) I felt sorry for him, though, always having the saddle recently, so I gave him the bridle-only treatment. He is a funny horse. I know he likes riding with Pie, and I know he loves investigating new places, but he is very serious when I ride him alone. He is not always animated. I solved this early on by taking him out of the ring, and then to new trails. Now we are running out of trails that he doesn't know by heart. He is so kind and safe, but I worry that he isn't having fun. I do finally think it is time to start some relaxed "work" (trotting and eventually cantering) to mix it up a bit for him mentally. I wasn't too enthusiastic anyway yesterday, so we were two Sad-Sacks together.
Pie is anything but a Sad-Sack. He is dewy-eyed with the anticipation of every ride. Today I rode him over to a subdivision closer to town. Thursday is the day for the nearby loud Auto-Auction. It is also trash day. The trash truck was screeching and gurgling practically beside Pie, and Sovey was whinnying, yet Pie just looked and kept right on walking. He is amazing. His happy steps stopped when I turned him to go home. He bulked and was obviously pouting because we had to return! I think I could have walked across the state if I wanted - as long as I didn't turn to go back home!
When we got back to the farm, a group of colorfully clothed daycare children from the church across the street came over to see the horses. Sovey was in the pasture and I was still on Pie. There were two teachers and about 15 kids of all shapes and ages! Wow! I was worried that we might have a situation on our hands. We all congregated in a field too near the road for my comfort. Right away I cautioned them to stay back and not to come over to our farm if I wasn't around. Pie was enamored with the children, and poor honey Sovey was forgotten behind the fence. Little hands were reaching and I saw fingers that could easily be mistaken for baby carrots so I dismounted and conducted an impromptu horse safety seminar! They all did get to touch the big boy which was wonderful to witness. Pie loved their giggles. He bent his silly big head down to see them better. It really was precious. Last year I helped introduce Maizie's Brownie troop to horses. We groomed Baja and talked about horse safety. The difference is that I was prepared that day, and Baja was safely cross-tied. And, of course, Baja was 14 years old. Mr. Baby Pie-Pie isn't the most experienced with this sort of thing, but he was just terrific. I don't think they got the message that horses are dangerous, however. Every time I would say that to the children, Pie would bend his neck and head down like a roly-poly circus trained puppy. The teachers told me that next Friday is their "Pet Day" and they hope we can walk the horses over! Yeah, right! I am not sure they understand!
Later in the afternoon, my friend Ginny stopped by and we took the boys out for a "walk" on lead lines. That was really fun. Maizie and her friends were galloping around on foot and in the golf cart and Ginny and I were grazing the boys, walking, and talking. I was able to stop worrying for awhile and it felt very good!

Monday, July 6, 2009

it's all so sugarless

I returned from the barn yesterday afternoon and found these lovely daylillies on our kitchen table. Maizie had collected them from our garden. She also cut more and took an arrangement to our neighbors, Winnie and Ralph. Winnie and Ralph are 90 and 92 years old, respectively, and live alone. They are unbelievable! Brian and I strive to emulate their approach to a long and happy life.
I needed the daylillies to cheer me up. I had found a large gash across Pie's back when I groomed him. I combed the pastures, but found no evidence of what caused the cut. I treated it and decided to just walk him in the bridle instead of riding. He is getting a wee bit chubby and needs his daily ride for exercise to maintain his adorable figure. Once out on foot we encountered the apple on the barstool. He gobbled it and I stood up on the top of the stool to get a better look at his cut. (He is so tall that I have trouble seeing his back and rump from the ground.) I decided that I could lightly slide on bareback and not disturb the cut. We ended up having a great ride. Sovereign, in typical fashion, got more exercise than Pie, though, by trotting in the pasture waiting for our return. Isn't that always how it is? The chubby horse walks calmly and slowly and the skinny horse races around.
This morning Mom and I rode. (The time for this post will be earlier than we actually rode - I finished posting later in the day.) We had such a great time. I was on Pie bareback again and we went everywhere on the farm. Pie knocked the apples off the barstool which was so much easier because I didn't have to dismount. He ate his apple and then I moved him away and Sovey took a turn. Then they stood there quietly for a few minutes. We laughed so hard because they obviously thought more apples might magically appear! Spoiled boys! We walked through the woods and Mom told me a story about her horse Chaplin from her childhood riding days. Pie and Sovey love our chatter, I think. The sun was shining and the trails were so pretty.
We both needed an early morning cheer-me-up-ride. Sadly, my dad has been very ill recently. We are just trying to think good thoughts and keep our spirits up. Horses are the best way to forget your worries.

Friday, July 3, 2009

they keep things loose, they keep things light

Our farrier came on Wednesday and trimmed the boys. I think they stood very well. Sovereign nuzzled my head the entire time he was getting his feet done. He was very loving. Pie gets into trouble with his nose because he wants desperately to smell what is going on. As soon as he bends to smell, he turns and wiggles his body away from the trimming. This is not exactly appreciated by our busy farrier!
Our farrier is a new daddy. His wife is involved with horses too, so when they were expecting he told me that they had found the cutest pair of pink breeches for his new baby. I painted a bridle tile for her in pink (above). In our tack room we use these tiles as identification plates over our bridles. I think you can just see them in the photo below.

Mom and I rode the boys yesterday morning. We asked them to trot through the field and they were brilliant. We kept it light and fun. They have such a good attitude about everything we ask of them.